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Definitions and Notes

Enrolment and Credentials Granted statistics are generated from the Postsecondary Student Information System (PSIS) database. For more information on PSIS click here.


The following definitions were applied in the preparation and presentation of the data:

  • Full-time Undergraduate Student: A full-time undergraduate student is a person enrolled in credit courses and/or program of study who is taking at least 60% of the normal course work associated with a program year.
  • Full-time Graduate Student: A full-time graduate student is enrolled in a program of study and makes substantial demands upon the resources of an institution such as enrolling in courses and/or engaging in research or writing a thesis under continuing supervision.
  • Part-time Undergraduate Student: A part-time undergraduate student is a person enrolled in credit courses and/or a program of study who is taking less than 60% of the normal course work associated with a program year.
  • Part-time Graduate Student: A part-time graduate student is enrolled part-time at an institution in an approved graduate degree, certificate or diploma program. Part-time graduate students fall into two main categories:
    • Students who have completed their required course work and are writing their thesis; and
    • Students who have not completed their course work and are presently taking courses and/or working on their thesis.
  • Community College Programs: Community College programs are non-university level post-secondary certificate or diploma programs typically 1 to 2 years in duration.
  • Undergraduate Certificates and Diplomas: Undergraduate Certificates and Diplomas are an integrated grouping of related courses of approximately 30 credits. Programs offered at this level can be 1 to 2 years in duration and contain general educational elements as well as a major concentration emphasis.
  • Bachelor Degree: A Bachelor degree is an undergraduate degree that includes a mix of applied and theoretical work and an intensity of specialization ranging from 90 to 205 credits (3 to 5 years in duration).
  • First Professional Degree: A First Professional degree is not considered a graduate level program, however, study normally occurs at the post-baccalaureate level. First Professional degrees include the following: Bachelor of Law (L.L.B), Doctor of Dental Surgery, D.D.S.), Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.). Professional designations are normally associated with this type of degree.
  • Graduate Certificates and Diplomas: Graduate Certificates and Diplomas are a grouping of related graduate-level courses of approximately 30 credits. Programs offered at this level are typically 1 year in duration.
  • Master's degree: Master's degree programs are either course-based, sometimes with a report, but without a thesis requirement, or research-based with a thesis requirement. Master's degree programs are usually 1 to 2 years in duration
  • Doctorate: Doctoral degree programs are research-based with a thesis requirement.
  • Full-time Equivalent (as of December 1st for statistical purposes): Full-time equivalent (FTE) is a value assigned to each student dependent upon the registration status (full-time or part-time) and level (bachelor's, master's or doctoral) of the student. All full-time students are assigned an FTE of 1.00. Part-time undergraduate students are assigned an FTE of 0.10 for every one semester course and 0.20 for every two-semester course in which they are enrolled. Part-time master's level students are assigned an FTE of 0.33 for the academic year. Part-time doctoral level students are assigned a 1.00 FTE for the academic year.
  • Weighted Full-time Equivalent: Weighted full-time equivalent (WFTE) is a value calculated for each program category (arts, science, business administration, engineering, etc.) by multiplying the total FTE of the program category by a specified weighting factor. The WFTE is intended to reflect the relative costs of programs.
  • International Student: One who is studying in Canada under a student authorization issued by Citizenship and Immigration Canada.
  • Undergraduate Student: Includes undergraduate certificates, undergraduate diplomas, bachelor's degree and first professional degree.
  • Graduate Student: Includes graduate certificates and diplomas, and Master's and Doctoral degrees.

Fields of Study

Please note: New major field of study categories, based on the Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) Canada 2011 primary groupings, are used in all MPHEC publications starting in September 2014 and they may not be comparable to previous years. For more information on the CIP 2011 Primary Groupings please visit Statistics Canada's website.

For publications prior to September 2014 the field of study categories are defined as follows:

  • Arts and Science - General
    Includes general arts and/or science and interdisciplinary students.
  • Education, Physical Education, Recreation and Leisure
    All education specialties including physical education and recreation.
  • Fine and Applied Arts
    Includes fine art, music, other performing arts, and applied arts.
  • Humanities and Related
    Includes classics, classical and dead languages, English language and/or literature, French language and/or literature, history studies, journalism studies, language and/or literature – other, library science, other records science, linguistics, other mass communication studies, philosophy, religious studies, theological studies and translation/Interpretation.
  • Social Sciences and Related
    Includes anthropology, archaeology, Canadian area studies, area studies – other, criminology, specialized administration studies, demography, economics, geography, law and jurisprudence, man/environment studies, political science, child study, psychology, secretarial studies, social work studies, sociology, military studies, other social services, gerontology, women's studies, community animation, community studies, and cooperative systems.
  • Commerce and Administration
    Includes accounting, finance, industrial relations, marketing, organizational behaviour, management, business administration and other commerce-related programs.
  • Agriculture and Biological Sciences
    Includes agriculture, biochemistry, biology, biophysics, botany, fisheries and wildlife management, household science and related studies, veterinary medicine, veterinary sciences, zoology, and toxicology.
  • Engineering and Applied Sciences
    Includes architecture, aeronautical and aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, design, system engineering, electrical engineering, computer engineering, industrial engineering, mining engineering, mechanical engineering, metallurgical engineering, other engineering studies, engineering science, engineering general, land information management, forestry studies, landscape architecture, and technology.
  • Health Professions and Occupations
    Includes dentistry, dental specialties studies, medicine, basic medical sciences, medical specialties studies, paraclinical science, surgical specialties studies, nursing studies, optometry, pharmacy, epidemiology and public health, rehabilitation, medical technology, dental hygiene, and other health professions and occupations.
  • Mathematics and Physical Sciences
    Includes computer science studies, mathematics, chemistry studies, geology and related, metallurgy, materials science, meteorology, oceanography and water studies, and physics studies.
  • Not Applicable/Not Reported
    Students for whom no major was reported.

Discipline Clusters

Major fields of study are grouped into four broad Discipline Clusters under two different program orientations:

Applied/Professional Programs
Commerce and Administration
Applied Arts and Sciences or Professional programs

Liberal Arts and Sciences
Physical and Life Sciences and Mathematics
Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

Starting in September 2014, Disciplines Clusters are based the Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) Canada 2011 codes. The list of CIP codes included under each program orientation and Discipline Cluster are available here: Discipline Clusters (September 2014)

For MPHEC publications prior to September 2014, Discipline Clusters and program orientation categories are based on MPHEC major field of study codes: Discipline Clusters


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